LOS ANGELES — The two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president appeared in Southern California this week appealing to voters as the June 7 primary election nears.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed a large gathering in Lincoln Park in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles May 23 before attending a rally at Santa Monica High School that evening where he criticized his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for not debating again before the California primary.
Sanders said it was “insulting to the people of California — our largest state — that she is not prepared to have a discussion with me about how we address the major crises we face.”
“A number of months ago our campaign and her campaign reached an agreement on a number of debates, including one here in California,” Sanders told the crowd, referring to commitments each campaign agreed to last winter to add debates to a schedule set by the Democratic National Committee.
Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said Clinton plans “to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses.”
“We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” Palmieri said.
Sanders began the day emphasizing immigration reform, an end to deportations, protecting voting rights and boosting wages.
“In this country, if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty,” Sanders said.
“That is why I was so proud to work with the workers in the fast-food industry who went out on strike from McDonalds and Burger King who stood up and told this nation they cannot make it on the starvation minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They demanded, and I support a $15 an hour minimum wage — $15 an hour and the right to form a union.”
Clinton spent May 23 attending a pair of fundraisers here but on May 24 she joined Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, in a discussion on foster care in South Los Angeles, then spoke at a boisterous campaign rally at a union headquarters in Commerce.
“We’ve got to get incomes rising,” she told a standing-room-only crowd in Commerce. “We’ve got to get more good jobs. And here’s how we’re going to do it: We’re going to do it by investing — investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy. Because some country is going be the clean-energy superpower. It’s going to be either Germany, China or us. I want it to be us.”
Clinton said she declined an invitation to debate Sanders in California prior to the June 7 primary, saying she wanted to focus her attention on defeating Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump in the general election.
Speaking of Trump, she told the Commerce rally: “Somebody may come along promising that he can make the economy great without telling you what he would do other than slash taxes,” Clinton said. “Donald Trump’s tax plan was written by a billionaire for billionaires, best as I can tell.”
Sanders moved his campaign east. On May 24 he was in Anaheim and on May 25 he campaigned in Riverside.